03/18/04 — WWII films to be shown

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WWII films to be shown

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 18, 2004 2:03 PM

Beginning next month, the Wayne County Public Library will offer a seven-part film history of Americans in World War II.

"Rosie to Roosevelt: the American People" is designed to offer participants the opportunity to view seven documentary films about the American experience in the war and then discuss the films.

Participants will also read selected text from Studs Terkel's book "The Good War." The six-week program will take place on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. from April 18 to May 23 in the Gertrude Weil Auditorium at the main library. Admission is free.

Topics include the effects of the war on the American economy, labor force, civil rights, and way of life; women in the work force; wartime experiences of Japanese and African Americans; America's reaction to the Holocaust; and young American soldiers' combat experiences at Normandy. The focus of the series is on what happened, how it changed America and how it continues to affect us today.

America leaped from the Great Depression into World War II, and nearly everyone was involved in the war effort. While millions of men headed for battle, women went to work building the equipment they needed for victory.

But when the war ended, life was never the same.

"From Rosie to Roosevelt: The American People" covers the millions of men and women who headed for battle, and those who mobilized to support the war effort at home.

The series begins with the film "The Home Front," which gives a comprehensive overview of the economic and social history of America during World War II.

Subsequent weeks focus on the effects of the war on women and minorities. The film "The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter" interweaves the stories of five "Rosies" who went to work in wartime factories, and the challenges they faced.

"The American People" explores the wartime experiences of Japanese Americans uprooted and interned in camps far from home, and blacks who remained segregated in the military and on the home front.

Session Five looks at America's reaction to the Holocaust. While news of a German campaign to exterminate Jews reached America in 1942, the government didn't formally recognize the crisis until 1944. It explores why no action was taken sooner and how many lives the delay cost.

The series concludes with the experience of combat at Normandy. The burden of the invasion fell on largely untested young men who conquered fear, fatigue and injury to lead America to victory.

This series is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and by materials loaned by the North Carolina Center for the Book, a program of the State Library.